There are times when my expertise and interests affect my response to the stories I consume. (I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.) Lately I’ve been noticing the presence or absence of textiles in my media, and how those textiles came to be.
I’m using macramé as an example of a technique that’s not getting much attention—in fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a story using macramé even as a background element—despite its versatility.
For example, in a fantasy world, you don’t always have to have woven or embroidered wall hangings decorating the lord’s hall. You could also have a ginormous macramé room divider like “Ocean”, below, by Bali-based fiber artist Agnes Hansella:
Apart from being refreshingly non-Eurocentric (if we consider the earliest records of macramé-style knots coming from Babylonian and Assyrian carvings), large-scale macramé works obviously require a high level of skill to complete, which makes them a perfect option for displaying a character’s wealth and social capital.
And even in smaller sizes, macramé can come in intricate shapes that in no way resemble the 1970s handiwork that may stereotypically come to mind (plant hangers, wall hangings, or cute but perhaps not entirely flawless friendship bracelets).
Speaking of small, when writing this blog post I leared that some people make micro macramé, where the working yarn or cord is quite thin. The result is almost lace-like:
You can make an almost endless range of items with macramé. If you can make cording (like bracelets), you can make anything used for supporting, holding, or edging, for instance like belts, suspenders, bands, animal harnesses (think of ceremonial processions etc.), pulls, straps, or decorative edges.
Macramé also does not need to be made from only unbleached or single color cord; on the contrary, colorful combinations can be quite eye-catching:
If you can make flat surfaces (like wall hangings), you can create items that could also be made from fabric, like table runners, curtains, cushion covers, pouches, or bags.
I could also imagine a macramé-style outer garment worn over fabric clothes looking fantastic. Indeed, someone else has had that very thought—check out these outfits promoted as Coachella or Burning Man costumes:
Depending on the type of cord, you could even make more utilitarian household items like chair seats, hammocks, lampshades, or baskets.
As with all creative work, the maker’s skill and imagination are the limit.
Images: Agnes Hansella via Colossal. Wall shelf by TBiaDesign on Etsy. Lacy cuff by AmeEtTiss on Etsy. Green belt by Toni Lasee at kitdesignsbykith on Etsy. Blue bag with macramé strap via Pinterest. Macrame vests by SeyanaStyle on Etsy. Rectangular basket by Phing Chutima at CraftingMode on Etsy. Lamp shade by Irina Kharebava on Etsy.
Out There is an occasional feature highlighting intriguing art, spaces, places, phenomena, flora, and fauna.